Credentials: Wisconsin Foundation & Alumni Association
Position title: Associate Director of Annual Giving
Major: Communication Arts (Radio-TV-Film)
Certificates: Digital Studies
Graduation Date: May 2019
How did you end up working at the Wisconsin Foundation & Alumni Association?
I started as a student hourly at the Badger Call call center. After graduating, I got an internship with the WFAA in their Marketing Department doing Digital and Social Media. I then applied for the role I am in today and have grown a lot over the last two years of working here.
Working in fundraising allows me to do mission-focused work which is so important to me as a motivator. I also really like my role because we use a lot of modern marketing tools and reach out to donors in creative ways. In a sense it feels like our team is a little startup in a bigger organization with lots of room to experiment and try new things. Initially there were 5 of us on the team and I’m now one of the more senior folks on the team which has grown to 12 at full capacity. I recently got a promotion on the team as well and have taken on more responsibility and leadership.
What does a typical day in the office look like for you?
I work for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and it’s been really cool to learn more about another side of campus through my work. Day to day work can range from 1:1 donor outreach like emails, calls, letters, etc. as well as working on email campaigns for larger groups of donors. We coordinate with our marketing team and work to raise money through a fall annual campaign, a spring campaign, and two different day of giving events throughout the year. We also use video a lot in our work to personalize our messages to donors. Overall, my goal is to build relationships with donors and help them accomplish their goals with their giving to raise money for UW-Madison.
How has Digital Studies influenced your career path?
Digital studies was hugely impactful for my career path right after school. Digital literacy was so important and I used a lot of what I learned in that digital/social internship where I ran social media for one of WFAA’s statewide outreach projects. Digital studies was also really helpful when I was applying to jobs. The capstone course was really effective at preparing me for the job search, especially creating the personal website and portfolio.
Another skill I have now from both Comm Arts and Digital Studies is being good at learning new programs or tech and I don’t think it is talked about enough. In my role, we’ve used many different third party tools and vendors and I have definitely been able to adapt to them quicker because of my experiences learning so many different tools in Digital Studies.
Did you have a favorite Digital Studies class?
I had an awesome time in Geography 370: Introduction to Cartography! I love maps, traveling, and learning about different places and cultures, so it was great to combine that interest with digital studies skills and work in one course. Learning Adobe Illustrator was really helpful and the class overall taught me about how to combine creative work with data-driven work through some awesome projects.
Do you have any advice for current students?
Get involved in student organizations and find your place on campus. What you learn in the classroom is obviously incredibly important but even more important are the relationships you build with folks and the things you learn through different experiences outside the classroom.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career thus far?
I have raised a lot of money for different funds at UW over my time in this role, but a few big gifts come to mind as proud moments. I’ve worked with a family to establish an endowed scholarship in CALS and have also secured a gift to fund this year’s summer research experiences in the Biochemistry Department. Building a relationship with those donors and helping to connect their passions and ideas to a tangible impact for students on campus is something I am really proud of.